“The Speech,” 2009
Rush gave a speech at CPAC today that will be talked about for years and even decades. The CNN commentators called him “angry,” –did that description ever attach to Howard Dean or any of the leading Democrats in opposition to President Bush?– but what he actually was was passionate about freedom. And completely and utterly contemptuous of conservatives urging accommodation to the agenda of President Obama, especially those conservatives ashamed of the grassroots and their attachments to pastimes such as NASCAR and issues such as the dignity of every human life and the importance of marriage.
A week ago a reporter from a major American newspaper called me to talk about Rush. I agreed to do the interview provided it was recorded and that I could air it after the story the reporter was working on ran. The reporter asked me if Rush was a “leader,” and I said no. He is, I continued, a communicator, a pundit and an entertainer, one of the two best in the country –along with Oprah. And a man of extraordinary influence. I think the Rush-Oprah comparison startled the reporter, but it is exactly correct. They have the same reach, and though they have almost completely different approaches to life, both are deeply sincere about their views and thus far beyond merely “effective.” Both communicators change lives.
Rush eschews “leadership.” He doesn’t tell people who to vote for or where to show up and march.
But he does communicate with quite extraordinary clarity the deep, abiding attachment that conservatives have for liberty. He does so with great, good humor, and it is this quality that drives the left to distraction. Rush is funny; really, really funny. This is of course the reason he has succeeded far beyond every other radio talk show host. The “women’s summit” this week was just the latest in a long string of innovative –and profitable– firsts that amused even as it made key points.
And Rush is authentic. And deeply appreciated as a result. Long may he prosper.
BTW: The newspaper’s story hasn’t run yet. Though I am on vacation next week, Duane will play it if and when the story does run to see which quotes the reporter used. That will be interesting.